Technology company putting ‘chip’ implants in employees

microchip placed in employees

A company based in the US has taken the unusual step of being one of the first in the world to implant chips in its employees.

Wisconsin company Three Square Market (32M) sells “micro market technology” running over 2,000 kiosks in break rooms and other locations worldwide.

The company has recently been offering to implant its employees with an RFID microchip the size of a grain of rice.

50 out of the 80 employees of the company reportedly took it up on this offer and accepted the implants voluntarily, which were built by a Swedish company, Biohax International.

The device containing an RFID chip can be used for basic functions such as opening doors around the building or paying for food at the company’s cafeteria.

“We see this as another payment and identification option that not only can be used in our markets but our other self-checkout/self-service applications that we are now deploying which include convenience stores and fitness centres,” said 32M COO Patrick McMullan.

The chip will also allow company employees to use copy machines, log into computers, share business cards and store health information.

“Eventually, this technology will become standardised allowing you to use this as your passport, public transit, all purchasing opportunities, etc.” commented 32M CEO, Todd Westby.

However, this is an employer-owned chip in your body and while an RFID chip doesn’t provide a record of all your movements, such as, your smartphone can, it could easily provide enough data to a curious or unethical supervisor on any employees’ actions.

With this in mind, the implementation of this technology could, in the short-term harm the PR image of an organisation and damage its prospects for attracting high-end talent, at least until use of this tech is normalised.

But, it’s important to keep in mind that the company’s chip program is completely voluntary and directly related to its product offerings.

Still, this is not how technology should progress when becoming more integrated into our biology. Anyone who values their privacy and right to own everything that goes into their body will not agree with this procedure.

A future where employees are pressured to have chips like the ones 32M is offering, even if it’s technically voluntary, is not a step in the right direction.

This is why it’s highly important to establish a new standard as soon as possible, which should include individual ownership and control over all implants, as well as widespread literacy on what exactly they can do and how they work.

Also read: Unusual Staff Benefits: Puppy parental leave & covering wedding costs

References:

https://www.themanufacturer.com/articles/implanted-employees-become-reality/

https://www.themanufacturer.com/articles/implanted-employees-become-reality/

Image source: The African Exponent

Voyager 1: Reporting back from space 40 years after its launch

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Voyager 1, the only spacecraft ever to travel beyond the solar system, will mark its 40th anniversary next month.

On 5 September 1977, humanities Voyager 1 took to the far-flung corners of the universe, finally leaving the solar system five years ago.

Its twin, Voyager 2, which left Earth on August 20 1977, is expected to enter interstellar space in the next few years.

Both these crafts feature long-lasting nuclear-powered batteries and continue to communicate with the US space agency from billions of miles away.

Distance covered and findings so far

Now almost 13 billion miles away from Earth, Voyager 1 is currently travelling northward, in relation to our world, at over 30,000 mph.

Voyager 1 has told its controllers just how harsh the interstellar environment is, with cosmic radiation levels four times higher than they are around the Earth.

In roughly 40,000 years, the vessel is expected to fly past a star 17.6 light years away called AC+79 3888 in the constellation Ophiuchus.

Voyager 2 is nearly 11 billion miles away from Earth and travelling in the opposite direction, allowing scientists to compare the two regions of space.

You can follow the live Mission Status here.

Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator at Nasa’s Science Mission Directorate, said: “I believe that few missions can ever match the achievements of the Voyager spacecraft during their four decades of exploration.”

“They have educated us to the unknown wonders of the universe and truly inspired humanity to continue to explore our solar system and beyond.”

Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft to have ever flown by all four outer planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

Between them, Voyager 2 has made a number of discoveries, including:

  • The first active extra-terrestrial volcanoes on Jupiter’s moon Io
  • Hints of a subsurface ocean on Jupiter’s moon Europe
  • An Earth-like atmosphere on Saturn’s moon Titan
  • Icy geysers on Neptune’s moon Triton

 
What next for Voyager 1 and Voyager 2?

US controllers expect to have switched off the last Voyager science spacecraft by 2030, but even then the vessel will continue silently coasting on an endless odyssey that will see them complete an orbit of the Milky Way galaxy every 225 million years.

Voyager project scientist Ed Stone, based at the California Institute of Technology, said: “None of us knew, when we launched 40 years ago, that anything would still be working and continuing on this pioneering journey.

“The most exciting thing they find in the next five years is likely to be something that we didn’t know was out there to be discovered.”

Evolving technologies

Its astronauts have circled the world, walked on the moon, piloted the first winged spacecraft, and constructed the International Space Station.

Fifty years ago, the U.S. Congress introduced newfound technologies to the public. Decades down the line, NASA continues to develop new technologies that have evolved immensely from those used in previous years.

Daring to challenge the impossible and brave new frontiers of exploration and technologies – has brought NASA, and indeed mankind, endless discoveries, revelations, and dramatic moments of pride and wonder.

Exploring the cosmos has transformed medicine, transportation, public safety, recreation, environmental monitoring and resource management, computer technology, industrial productivity, and our perception of the planet on which we live and the universe of which our Earth is one small part.

Also read: Space-based solar power: Powering the earth

 

References:

https://spinoff.nasa.gov/Spinoff2008/pdf/spinoff2008.pdf

https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2017/08/voyager-1-still-reporting-back-from-interstellar-space-40-years-after-its-launch/

https://www.nasa.gov/50th/50th_magazine/historyLetter.html

Image Source: Motherboard

How much energy can Usain Bolt Generate

bolt

Usain Bolt will take to the global stage one last time at the London 2017 World Championships, bidding to crown his track career with more gold medals.

Bolt wants to go down in history as ‘unbeatable’ as he prepares to say goodbye. The Jamaican sprinter plans to run in the 100m final and 4x100m relay at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in London.

Bolt’s fastest time was in Berlin, where he ran the 100m final in 9,58 seconds. The infographic below illustrates how much energy Usain Bolt generated in this time.

Bolt 2

References:

https://www.daftlogic.com/information-appliance-power-consumption.htm

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/revealed-the-science-behind-usain-bolt-power-burst-used-to-the-100m-world-record-8732545.html

Image reference: alphacoders

Bringing back conversation in the Digital Age

business conversation

Phones. Tablets. Laptops. Ironically, are these obsessions hurting, not helping, real communication?

We live in a technological universe in which we’re always communicating. And yet we’ve sacrificed conversation for mere connection.

Leading author and researcher Sherry Turkle has been studying digital culture for more than thirty years.

She discusses how we behave at work, at home, in politics, and in love – finding ways around conversation, tempted by the possibilities of a text or an email in which we don t have to look, listen, or reveal ourselves.

Along with affecting our social behaviour with family and friends, we also retreat to our screens in the workplace.

Business doesn’t happen face to face as often as some would like. Rather, today’s communication relies on conference calls and emails that make it challenging to get to know your colleagues and business partners.

With so many workers worldwide now working in virtual teams, many business relationships depend on technology. And that’s not a bad thing – just as long you’re using the right technologies in the right way.

Here are some innovative ways in which brands are helping bring back conversation.

The world’s most sociable shoe

Designer shoes company Anatomic & Co has created a shoe that helps you take a break from the digital world, allowing you to connect with those around you in person.

In a world addicted to smartphones and distracted by social media notifications, Anatomic and Co created the world’s first sociable shoe that doesn’t just connect you to the Internet – it disconnects you.

The ‘In Good Company’ shoe allows men to switch off their interfering mobile and social app notifications by simply wearing the shoe.

Anatomic & Co redefined the meaning of “smart shoes” by matching style, technology and connectivity in a meaningful way.

The shoe also allows you to personalise your preferences to make it work around your lifestyle with one simple app.

Unplug without missing out

A new app called Offtime doesn’t just identify your bad habits, it also helps you break them.

The app is designed to let you unplug without missing urgent matters. It lets you whitelist contacts who able to pierce through your downtime, like your spouse or children, but otherwise shuts down apps, calls, texts, and emails.

It can also auto-respond to incoming messages on your behalf, while maintaining a careful activity log of everything you missed while away so you can quickly catch up.

Offtime also provides similar insights about your usage of your phone, as its predecessors did, charting out hours spent on the device, and even detailing which individual apps are the largest time-sucks.

And while in Offline mode, the app is smart enough to identify certain patterns – like someone who dials you six times in a row probably has an emergency and needs to get through.

No emails day

Recently, the 7th annual global ‘No Email Day‘ took place on 7th July 2017.

The proposition is simple enough – avoid email for 24 hours so that you can be more productive, social and collaborative at work.

All other means of communication such as phone, text messages, face-to-face, social media, or handwritten notes are allowed. It’s just email that needs to be avoided.

Realistically not everyone is able to go a full 24 hours without checking their email. However, the main purpose of the campaign is to get people to think about how they are communicating and whether it’s the best way to work or if they are creating more work for themselves and recipients.

MPs don’t need to wear ties in the House of Commons chamber

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Speaker John Bercow recently confirmed that male MPs do not need to wear ties in the House of Commons chamber.

Breaking away from tradition, Mr Bercow discussed that it’s not essential for MPs to include ties in their outfit, but should wear “businesslike attire”.

Parliamentary custom is for male MPs to wear jackets and ties in the chamber.

Mr Bercow was speaking after Tory backbencher Peter Bone said he had spotted an MP – who was Lib Dem Tom Brake – asking a question tieless.

Know for wearing rather eye-catching ties in the Commons, Mr Bone said he was “not really one to talk about dress sense” but asked whether the rules had changed.

Mr Bercow responded by saying: “I think the general expectation is that members should dress in businesslike attire.”

He added: “So far as the chair is concerned… it seems to me that as long as a member arrives in the House in what might be thought to be businesslike attire, the question of whether that member is wearing a tie is not absolutely front and centre stage.”

Mr Bercow went on to say that MPs should always show respect towards their colleagues or the House of Commons, he added: “Do I think it’s essential that a member wears a tie? No.”

To laughter from MPs, Mr Bercow clarified that there was “absolutely no obligation on female members not to wear ties, if they so choose”.

The official rule book of parliament – Erskine May – only has a limited set of rules on members’ dress; namely that military insignia or uniforms should not be worn in the Commons and that the custom is “for gentlemen members to wear jackets and ties”.

As a parliamentary factsheet notes, the Speaker has “on a number of occasions, taken exception to informal clothing, including the non-wearing of jackets and ties by men”.

Back in 2009, MP Graham Allen was interrupted by former deputy speaker Sir Alan Haselhurst who told him he was not “properly attired” when he tried to ask a question when not wearing a tie.

Two years later, Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi apologised after a novelty tie he was wearing started playing a tune while he was in the middle of a Commons speech…

Watch the video here

You may also want to read: Business leaders reveal their best business advice

Source: BBC NEWS

It’s time to get serious about resilience

britishairways

The disruption and financial consequences of downtime due to a power outage are well documented, most recently in the case of British Airways (BA). John Hartley, Head of Propositions at Centrica Distributed Energy and Power, identifies the measures that should be taken to enhance resilience and avoid any interruption to business continuity.

During the late May bank holiday, BA flights were brought to a standstill at Heathrow and Gatwick with 75,000 people affected by three days of disruption – the worst to hit the airline for seven years. Experts suggested BA’s huge compensation costs could top £100m and shares in International Airlines Group slumped.

Cause and effect

BA’s check-in systems, call centre, and website suffered a major IT failure that affected its operations worldwide, something that was later attributed to a power supply issue. BA’s Chief Executive Officer, Alex Cruz, said that the surge was ‘so strong that it rendered the back-up system ineffective’.

While some commentators have questioned whether the robustness of IT systems also contributed to the crisis, the situation has brought the issue of power supply and resilience to the fore.

Power up

Power surges are a very real phenomenon and, while blackouts are obvious threats to on-site equipment, other conditions can also cause problems. Brownouts occur when the mains supply cannot cope with its overall load and the voltage levels reduce, in extreme cases for periods measured in hours.

Mains power can also sag, or drop in voltage level for a few cycles, usually after a large load such as air conditioning or rotating machinery is switched on.

Always on

We may never know exactly what happened at BA but it highlights how an unexpected event can have potentially devastating consequences for a business.

In fact, research carried out by the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) found that following a disaster around a quarter of businesses never reopen, 80 per cent of companies that don’t recover within a month are likely to go out of business and 75 per cent of companies that do not have a business continuity plan fail within three years.

Most organisations will have an outage at some point in time. The skill is in ensuring that it happens as part of a planned maintenance programme, not due to an external factor.

To this end, businesses should plan for an outage to occur annually and during that outage ensure that every mitigation measure at its disposal is tested, to ensure that when something happens it will be able to mitigate the worst effects.

This could include continuous access services where data processing and storage is split across two or even three sites simultaneously so that the failure of one site does not impact on business as usual services.

Businesses should also be comfortable using their backup generators as part of their business as usual activity – using a generator to reduce bills by being on during peak times for example, can ensure it’s more likely to work when needed in an emergency as well as earning that business some additional revenue.

Centre of attention

With the advent of Industry 4.0 and the smart factory, data centres are increasingly deployed at the industrial edge, in factories and other operationally sensitive environments.

As the BA case demonstrated, reliance on IT means that data centres have to be among the most resilient facilities out there. Many are designed to meet good practice infrastructure guidelines and there are numerous documented examples of N+1 designs, systems designed to withstand the loss of a component.

However, more emphasis should be placed on reacting quickly when a component failure occurs rather than assuming that N+1 will solve all problems. Ensuring a quick repair places a premium on staff training, predictive diagnostics, good support contracts and on-site spares.

In the event of a prolonged power failure, in addition to a UPS a further source of power will be required – usually a generator – which, given sufficient fuel, will keep running indefinitely.

Developments in battery technology mean that effective energy storage is also now within the reach of most organisations.  Obviously, it’s not enough to simply install equipment to back up power, as it must be properly maintained and regularly tested to ensure it is operational when needed.

The generation game

Having a well designed and well maintained standby power system is the best protection against utility power outages. Whether located in a factory, data centre, hospital or anywhere else housing mission critical electrical equipment, generators are vital, as they can withstand heavy load for long hours and start off the power supply on full load within minutes.

Combine this with a battery solution that offers an almost instant response to a power failure and businesses can stand easy.

The combination of resilience and using assets in a smart way is not always obvious. While often considered a key facilitator of resilience, generators offer much more than power back-up and are woefully underutilised.

The most forward-looking organisations are opening up new revenue streams by making their assets available to the National Grid to help balance the system and trading in the market when prices are high.

Monitor and manage

Keeping an eye on how energy is being used by plant and other electronic equipment can also help prevent outages. Smart devices are available that consist of completely non-invasive, wireless and self-powered circuit level technology, coupled with cloud based analytics.

By clamping on the outgoing electrical wire from the circuit breaker, Centrica’s Panoramic Power sensors monitor the flow of electricity and can send information wirelessly in real-time.

Hundreds of sensors can be installed in just a few hours and by transmitting data wirelessly, they deliver energy information to a software analytics platform that provides insight into real time energy usage and enables users to optimise their operations, processes and maintenance resources, while identifying what devices are using most energy.

The level of granular detail available means that proactively controlling and actively managing energy rates by shifting loads, or by reducing loads in real time, is possible.

There are significant operational benefits to be gained also, such as preventative and condition based maintenance. For example, if a chiller is short-cycling, a facilities manager can be alerted and initiate measures to prevent damage and downtime. It can also highlight inefficiencies in the plant and unusual current behaviour – thereby maintaining performance and productivity.

Centre forward

A business must possess the ability to react quickly and decisively to any situation it is presented with, and uptime should always be front and centre of any strategic planning.

Good resilience to power outages means faster recovery after incidents, reduced impact of incidents and protection of brand and reputation. It can also provide a better understanding of an organisation and demonstrates to internal stakeholders that their wellbeing and livelihoods are important.

For this to happen, of course, the importance of resilience needs to be understood and championed across an organisation: from engineering and operations, to risk and finance.

It is only through this that organisations can gain the requisite insight into their energy, make the most of equipment such as generators and invest in new energy infrastructure.  In turn, they can avoid the considerable cost and pain of an unplanned power outage.

Image source: EveningStandard

Innovating to disrupt the energy market

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Experts believe the world hit peak coal in the late 1990s. The consensus between industry experts and analysts is that we’ll hit peak oil any time between 2010 and 2030. However, at last week’s Energy News Live Future Energy event, I learned that the UK hit peak horse power in 1922.

It’s a quirky fact and I should credit it to Robert Llewellyn, of Red Dwarf legend and a true energy tech evangelist, who joined me on a panel to discuss the future of energy at the conference.

When discussing the future of energy, the word ‘innovation’ is used a lot. It’s a top answer in buzzword bingo, with ‘disrupter’ running a close second. It’s only natural for businesses to go after something which could transform how and what they do and there is no denying that innovation and energy tech is really changing the energy market. The clear trends I see are:

  • The energy market is moving from a centralised, planned world to a local model.
  • Businesses will move from monthly planning to real-time decisions.
  • There will be flexible two-way models, where users may consume or generate energy depending on market conditions.
  • The definition of an ‘energy supplier’ will become blurred – you could be a supplier to a local community one day, and customer the next.

british gas

There are massive opportunities for businesses to take control of their energy and become more efficient. British businesses are still spending around £20bn a year on energy and we believe that could be brought down by up to 20 per cent through energy efficiency improvements alone.

As part of Centrica, British Gas business is in a unique position in having access to an in-house team of distributed energy experts and traders that can help customers to navigate the complexities of the changing energy landscape and unlock real value from their assets.

A first step for many businesses is to understand exactly how they are using energy – to have better insight. Working with the Panoramic Power team, we can give customers real-time visibility of their electricity use – armed with this data they can identify opportunities to drive down their energy use and/or install new technologies.

With clear insight businesses can better optimise their assets –we want to help customers make the most of what they already have.

I often wonder how many companies and organisations which have back-up generators appreciate that instead of standing idle they could be earning money by exporting power back to the grid. 

We’re also working with the Distributed Energy & Power business to help UK businesses design energy solutions, install and maintain systems to help them generate their own energy on site such as solar, combined heat and power (CHP) and heat pumps.

Investing in on-site generation can reduce costs, generate income, improve resilience and reduce carbon emissions.

It’s clear that innovation and disruptive technology will be critical for the future of any business, and how they harness either new technologies or solutions will set successful organisations apart.

That’s why we joined together with Energy Live News at Leicester Space Centre, with some of the most forward thinking companies in the world, to showcase how the changes happening in the energy system are providing massive opportunities for businesses to take control of energy and become more efficient.

Tampering with gas meter takes backfires

tampering with energy meter

Recently 4 take away stores in Birmingham were discovered to be running on tampered meters, after the person responsible reported one of the meters because it had caught on fire.

The customer was then linked to other sites through Land Registry and our data team. A total of 4 sites were identified, with 8 tampered meters.

Police are now handling the investigation and progress towards prosecution is taking place.

If found guilty, the customer could be issued with a bill amounting to £100,000.

The below image shows that the teeth of the meter have been cut, allowing 50% of gas to pass for free.

energy tampering

Tampering with gas meters is incredibly dangerous and can result in severe injuries or even death.

Illegally modifying your meter can result in jail time – as it puts the lives of others in danger from a possible gas explosion.

Wimbledon: How much energy can tennis pros generate?

Wimbledon_tennis_energy_generated

Wimbledon is the oldest tennis tournament in the world and has been held at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London, since 1877 and is played on outdoor grass courts.

Wimbledon is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, the others being the Australian Open, the French Open and the US Open.

Since the Australian Open switched to hardcourt in 1988, Wimbledon is the only grand slam tournament that is still played on grass.

There’s a lot of energy generated at Wimbledon, from crowds cheering in the stands to the tennis pros on the court burning a hefty amount of calories.

In fact, both men’s finalists will burn more than 2100 calories on average, an energy output of over 2.50kWh.

So what could this energy achieve if it was used to power your electronics and household appliances?

A year of using your computer or laptop racks up a fair amount of electricity, especially if you’re using your system for both work and entertainment.

On average your laptop computer uses between 50W – 100W when in use. Harness the power of 7 men’s finals and you would have enough energy to power your laptop for a year!

WIMB

LED light bulbs can last anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 hours, or up to five times longer than traditional bulbs on the market.

Just 5 men’s finals could keep an LED lightbulb shining for more than 2 years.

WIMB2

The women’s final generates more than 1.50kWh, which is enough to keep your iPad charged for a whole year.

WIMB3

A regular sized microwave will use between 600W to 1700W depending on the model. To keep the microwave powered for a year, it would require energy from 70 men’s finals!

WIMB4

Time to turn up the power! An entire singles tournament at Wimbledon comprises of 127 matches. So, if you took the energy from every Wimbledon men’s game, you would have enough energy to power your fridge, vacuum cleaner and TV for an entire year.

WIMB5

The great thing about manpower is that we’re not relying on the erratic nature of the wind or the sun. Of all the renewable fuels, it is unlikely that any is more sustainable than our own bodies.

Self-powering gym workstations are currently one way the human body can help produce electricity.

Technologies such as this will not save the world’s energy crises anytime soon, but they remain a foundation for generating clean energy in the future.

Also read: The power produced by runners competing in the London Marathon

Sources:

https://www.daftlogic.com/information-appliance-power-consumption.htm

Image Source: TimeOut

Toyota Mirai: Everything you need to know about the hydrogen car

toyota-mirai

The Toyota Mirai uses of hydrogen – an important future energy source – to generate power.

The vehicle mixes environmental performance, with the convenience and driving pleasure that is expected of any car.

The Miraiuses Toyota Fuel Cell System (TFCS), which features both fuel cell technology and hybrid technology, and includes Toyota’s new proprietary FC Stack and high-pressure hydrogen tanks.

The car is much more energy efficient than internal combustion engines and emits no CO2 or pollutants when driven.

Drivers can also expect the same level of convenience offered by gasoline engine vehicles, with a generous cruising range and a hydrogen refuelling time of about three minutes.

Are Hydrogen fuel cell cars safe?

Hydrogen cars are perfectly safe. According to the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association’s website, “Hydrogen has been proven to be as safe as or even safer than other flammable fuels such as gasoline or natural gas.”

The precaution however is that, “…hydrogen can leak easily and ignite at relatively low temperature.”

The 2017 Toyota Mirai has proper safety features in place, which are described in a four-point process on how to keep the hydrogen from exploding:

  • Leak-proof tanks hold the hydrogen
  • In case of a collision, sensors stop the flow of hydrogen
  • Any leaked hydrogen is quickly dispersed
  • Hydrogen escapes safely into the atmosphere

 
Hopefully, these safety measures will change the minds of those who are unsure about hydrogen fuelled cars.

Toyota Mirai Features:

E performance:

The vehicle features a fusion of fuel cell technology with hybrid technology. The system uses Toyota-developed components including the Toyota FC Stack, FC boost converter, and high-pressure hydrogen tanks.

Toyota FC Stack:

The new Toyota FC Stack achieves a maximum output of 114 kW (155 DIN hp) and a world-leading power output density of 3.1 kW/L (2.2 times higher than that of the previous Toyota FCHV-adv limited-lease model).

FC Boost Converter:

A new compact, high-efficiency, high-capacity converter has been developed to boost power generated in the Toyota FC Stack to 650 volts.

High-pressure Hydrogen Tanks:

Tanks with a three-layer structure made of carbon fibre-reinforced plastic and other materials are used to store hydrogen at a very high pressure of 70 MPa (70 megapascals, or approximately 700 bar).

The Japanese car manufacturer is offering three years’ of complimentary fuel or $15,000 worth of hydrogen. New Mirai owners, or lessees, will be provided with a debit card, which they can use at fuelling stations.

You’re not going to find a hydrogen station as easily as a gas station, however, if you do find a hydrogen station, it will only take about five minutes to fill up. On just one refuelling, you’ll be able to travel approximately 312 miles.

Also read: World’s first green energy boat prepares for voyage around the world

 

Sources:

https://www.toyota.co.uk/world-of-toyota/stories-news-events/the-toyota-mirai.json

https://www.carjojo.com/2017-toyota-mirai/

http://www.chfca.ca/education-centre/hydrogen-safety/